Murty OP, Kian CK, Ari Husin MH, Nanta Kumar RK, Mohammed Yusuf WY.
Forensic Pathology Unit, Department of Pathology, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lightning strike is a natural phenomenon with potentially devastating effects and represents one of the important causes of deaths from environmental phenomena.
Almost every organ system may be affected as lightning current passes through the human body taking the shortest pathways between the contact points.
A 10 years retrospective study (1996-2005) was conducted at University Hospital Kuala Lumpur (20 cases) also including cases during last 3 years from Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang (7 cases) from the autopsy reports at Forensic Pathology Units of these 2 hospitals. Both these hospitals are attached to University of Malaya.
There were 27 fatal cases of lightning strike with male preponderance(92.59%) and male to female ratio of 12.5:1.
Majority of victims of lightning strike were from the age group between 30 and 39 years old. Most of the victims were foreign workers. Indonesians workers contributed to 59.26% of overall cases. Majority of them were construction workers who attributed i.e.11 of 27 cases (40.74%). Most of the victims were brought in dead (37.04%).
In majority of the cases the lightning incidence occurred in the evenings, with the frequency of 15 of 27 cases (62.5%). The month of December represented with the highest number of cases (5 cases of 23 cases); 2004 had the highest incidence of lightning strike which was 5 (19.23%). Lightning strike incidence occurred when victims had taken shelter (25.9%) under trees or shades.
Lightning strike in open areas occurred in 10 of 27 cases (37.0%). Head and neck were the most commonly affected sites with the incidence of 77.78% and 74% respectively in all the victims. Only 29.63% of the cases presented with ear bleeding.
Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2009 Sep;30(3):246-51.